Inherent in every act of design is a vision however modest, however inarticulate of a better world: We design because we believe that travel might be made more comfortable, work more efficient, information more accessible, experiences more fulfilling, spaces more convivial, and people's lives more meaningful. By addressing the needs of the present, designers are, inescapably, envisioning the future.
By definition, a vision of a better future is grounded in a critique of the present, insofar as the prevailing organization of social resources obstructs the full realization of our potential to lead productive, enjoyable, and fulfilling lives. William Morris was the first to link a critique of "How we live" to a vision of "How we might live" through the medium of design, and this impulse continues to inspire design practice today. The 2015 Annual Design History Society Conference seeks to explore this Utopian spirit in design in all of its many aspects, as well as engaging with the broadest possible definitions of ""design."
"How we live, and How we might live": Design and the Spirit of Critical Utopianism was convened by Professor Barry Katz, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California, September 11-13, 2015.